What to Look for When Touring a House
It may still be cold outside, but house hunting season is just around the corner. You’ve researched neighborhoods, you’ve gotten pre-approved and now you’re ready to start searching for the house you’ll call home. Before you start doing walk-throughs, there are some things you should know to look for beforehand, so there aren’t any surprises after you’ve gotten the keys.
Funky Walls, Windows and Floors
There is a difference between hairline fractures (usually as a result of a new house settling) and noticeable cracks, which could be an indication of a bigger problem. When you’re walking through a home, carefully examine the walls, windows and floors for any abnormal cracks, signs of water damage, warped windows and uneven flooring. Any abnormalities with these may be a sign that there are some serious issues with this home’s foundation. While hairline cracks can be covered and easily dealt with, foundation issues could lead to further damage and fistfuls of money wasted on repairs.
Homeowners may put out a plate of freshly baked cookies or light a few candles before prospective buyers stop by. While this is typically to make the home seem more inviting, it may be a tactic to cover up any undesirable scents. While going from room-to-room, make sure you’re using your nose to detect any weird smells. Whiffs of cigarette smoke, past pet accidents and the smell of mold could indicate the scents of this home are embedded in the walls and carpet. While these can be dealt with, removal can be expensive and hazardous to your health.
Lack of Property Upkeep
Most people trying to sell their home typically do their due diligence and fix any glaring maintenance issues. However, if you’re walking through the home and notice chipped wall paint, leaky faucets, toilet bowl grime and an unkempt lawn, this could mean the current homeowner didn’t do much in the way of home maintenance. Ignoring superficial home issues could mean some more serious home maintenance was missed, such as changing out air filters or clearing out the gutters.
Ask About the Roof
Speaking of gutters, talk to the homeowner about the roof’s condition. When was it installed? Have any repairs ever been made on it? Was it ever re-shingled? The homeowner may only be able to answer so many questions pertaining to the roof, so you may need an expert’s opinion. If you’re seriously interested in a home, have a professional check out the roof. The last thing you want is to move in and have a collapsed roof after the first heavy snowfall.
Ask Questions About the Property
Have an open conversation about the property with the current homeowners. What did they like about the home? What are some things they thought could be improved upon? Was there any serious damage at any point or anything that happened to the property? Sellers and real estate agents are legally obligated to disclose any known issues, so don’t be afraid to ask. These sellers know this home better than anyone, have an open conversation with them about any issues or concerns. Before making any final decisions on the house, it’s best to have a home inspector come by so they can report any issues.
Buying a home can be an incredibly intimidating process. With a little research before your tour and looking for any signs of damage during your walk through can save you from any unplanned expenses.